Many people visit Singapore for a few days as part of a stop on their way to, or from, another destination, utilising the excellent air hub. However this small sovereign state has more to offer and is becoming more of a destination in its own right.
A British colony from the early 19th Century, Singapore was an important trading post in the region. The British lost control of Singapore from 1942 to 1945 when the Japanese invaded the territory. Britain resumed control following the end of the second world war until 1963 when it became part of the newly created Malaysia.
Following its expulsion from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore undertook a rapid modernisation programme to help combat a severe housing and unemployment crisis. This modernisation and redevelopment, including extensive land reclamation to increase land mass, has resulted in Singapore becoming one of the most prosperous nations in the world.
Singapore has stunning skylines, world class shopping and entertainment, a superb range of food from street food to world class restaurants and excellent beaches
When to Visit
In reality there is not a bad time to visit Singapore due to the weather.
It is hot and humid all year round. Daily average temperatures will rarely fall below 24°C/75°F and can be as high as 31°C/88°F.
There is always the risk of rain but some months are much wetter than others.
Singapore has two main seasons, the North East Monsoon (November to March) and South West Monsoon (May to September). December and January tend to be the wettest months of the year.
How to Get to Singapore
Singapore’s Changi Airport is home to Singapore Airlines and has direct flights to around 400 cities throughout the world with more than 100 airlines using this regional hub.
Direct flights from the UK are available from London and Manchester with Singapore Airlines and British Airways both flying direct.
It is also possible to arrive in Singapore by sea, the port handles small boats, ferries and large cruise liners, and by road from Malaysia.
Getting Around Singapore
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is the usually the best way to get around Singapore. It’s cheap, clean, efficient and fast and has good connections throughout Singapore. The RT also connects to Changi Airport.
Buses are another excellent option, again they are cheap and link throughout Singapore. Some bus routes are designed specifically around tourist routes so make an excellent way of seeing the sights.
Taxis are available throughout Singapore and are another affordable alternative. All fares are run through a meter although some routes and times will incur a surcharge.
Language and Currency
The official language of Singapore is Malay. Chinese and Tamil are also widely used. English is spoken by many, if not most people, as it is used locally as the bridge language between the three languages as well as for business and tourism.
The currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar or SGD / S$. Notes are available in 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 and 10,000 S$ denominations. The current exchange rate is around £1 = S$1.80. Some larger shops may also accept US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, Japanese Yen and Australian Dollars.
American Express, Mastercard and Visa are all widely accepted although some smaller places may only accept cash.
ATM’s are widespread but as always be aware of additional charges from the ATM, local bank and your own card issuer which may make this an expensive way of getting cash.
Banks and licensed money changers are common throughout Singapore and are often the best value for exchanging cash or travelers cheques.
Visa and Passports
Please note that this guidance is not currently valid due to COVID-19 restrictions. Singapore has currently closed its borders to foreign travel.
Passports should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Singapore. You may be refused entry if your passport has less than 6 months remaining or if it is damaged or has pages missing.
The majority of people visiting Singapore will not need a visa for entry for visits up to 90 days. These rules may change at any time so we recommend that you always check before you travel. More details should be available in your home country or by checking the Singapore Government Information.
Health and Vaccinations
Unless you are arriving from a Yellow Fever zone there are no compulsory vaccinations required in Singapore.
Travelers should however ensure that they are up to date with routine vaccinations.
We recommend checking the latest information available for your country at least two months prior to departure.
Additional care should be taken if you have underlying health conditions or are planning on undertaking a number of higher risk activities, for example getting a tattoo, unprotected sexual intercourse with a new partner etc.
We recommend only drinking sealed bottled water and not tap water.
Food and Drink
Singapore will not disappoint food lovers from top class restaurants to street markets, the range and quality of food is excellent. The most common cuisines are Malay (rich with coconut milk and spices), Indian (spicy vegetarian dishes are to be recommended) and Chinese (Cantonese is most common with lots of stir fries).
If you want to sample food from elsewhere in the world, or you crave some home comforts, there are plenty of options for you too.
Famed throughout the world is the Singapore Sling, a gin based cocktail developed and made popular by the Raffles Hotel. Dress up and head to the Raffles to sample the real thing.
The most common beer is Tiger, available in many places around the world so you are probably already familiar with it. A number of smaller breweries have opened more recently meaning there is more choice available now.
also available are Kopi, the local coffee traditionally made with condensed milk, Bubble Tea, a sweet milky tea with tapioca balls, Bandung, milk and rose syrup and Sarsi, a popular root beer often combined with ice cream to make a float.
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